One of my favourite winter vegetables is the black or purple carrot that is available in the northern parts of the country (yes, it’s mostly because of that gorgeous colour). Also, I do feel that these carrots have a deeper sweetness than the red winter carrots that are more widely available – and that’s probably why the halwa made with the black or purple variants is so much better than any other halwa I’ve ever had. So when I set out to buy these carrots, I had originally intended to use them for halwa. But since my regular greengrocer didn’t have enough, I came away with about half a kilo and decided to make a simple soup with them.
I like this soup recipe because it’s fairly quick (always a dealmaker for me) and it uses very few ingredients, all of which are quite easily available at the neighbourhood grocer’s. We’ve been having miserable weather in this part of the country – cold and wet – and I’m longing for a bit of the sun. Which is probably why this soup, although made as winter dish, has a tropical feel to it, thanks to the lime juice and coconut milk. It almost – almost – made me feel like I was back home in Kerala, sunning myself on a porch.
Black/purple carrots – ½ kilo
Onion, chopped – 1 medium
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
Oil – 2 tsp
Juice from one large lime
Thick coconut milk – ½ cup
Salt, to taste
*Wash and peel the carrots. Pressure cook them with 2-3 cups of water on high flame for 4 whistles.
*Allow the carrots to cool, then roughly chop into 2-inch pieces. Preserve the water (which would be a deep purple).
*Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the onion on low-medium flame. When the onion turns translucent, add the ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw smell is gone.
*Add the carrots and sauté for a couple of minutes.
*Turn off the flame and allow to cool.
*Puree the carrots-onions mixture, and add the preserved carrot water bit-by-bit to blend it to your preferred consistency.
*When done, transfer the soup back to the saucepan, add salt and heat.
*When it’s hot enough, turn off the flame and mix in the lime juice. The colour will brighten considerably, thanks to the vitamin C.
*To serve, pour the soup into bowls, stir in the coconut milk and, if you want, garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
To make the soup a little heavier, you can substitute oil with butter or ghee
Feel free to use orange or red carrots, instead of black or purple
If you’re not a fan of coconut milk, you can use sour cream or thick dahi for the creaminess, but really…what would be the point?
[The Back Burner is a blog that will talk about all things food (with recipes, of course)]